Y-D Red Sox History
Early Years of Baseball in Yarmouth
While the game of baseball was played in some form on Cape Cod and throughout Massachusetts since the Civil War, the earliest recorded game played by an organized team representing the Town of Yarmouth took place on July 4, 1876. On that Centennial Independence Day, the Yarmouth Mattakeesetts (named after the indigenous peoples of the area) played the Barnstable Cummaquids at the Barnstable Fair Grounds.
Continuing its tradition of playing on the 4th of July, Yarmouth played the Sandwich Resolutes in 1887. Yarmouth’s pitcher that day was Fred Tenney, the Principal at Yarmouth High School. Tenney went on to play for the Boston Reds and the original Washington Nationals of the American Association, a late 19th century professional league that eventually merged into MLB’s National League.
Yarmouth and Dennis Teams in the Cape Cod Baseball League
From the time the Cape Cod Baseball League took shape in the late 19th century, various versions of town teams from both Yarmouth and Dennis participated, although the teams often took various forms and names. At the end of World War I, teams were largely made up of returning soldiers. Years later, team rosters began to shift toward local and regional college players. Like other teams in the fledgling league, teams from Yarmouth and Dennis formed, disbanded and re-organized numerous times.
The Cape Cod Baseball League was reorganized after World War II and included among its teams the Yarmouth Indians, who played at John Simpkins School in South Yarmouth, and the Dennis Clippers, who played at Ezra Baker Field in South Dennis, which had stadium lights and was considered one of the best fields on the Cape.
The Dennis Clippers made it to the Cape League Championship Series in 1956, losing to the Sagamore Clouters, 2 games to 0. The team ultimately disbanded for good in 1961.
The Yarmouth Indians were crowned Cape League Champions in both 1958 and 1960, besting the Sagamore Clouters in the Championship Series both years. They were led by Merrill “Red” Wilson, a teacher, coach and Athletic Director at Yarmouth High School. He would go on to manage the Yarmouth club for 16 seasons, beginning in 1966.
In 1968, following the excitement of the Boston Red Sox 1967 “Impossible Dream” season, the Yarmouth Indians were renamed the Yarmouth Red Sox.
Yarmouth – Dennis Red Sox 1970 – 1990
1973 saw the Red Sox move their home games from John Simpkins School Field on Route 28 to Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School on Station Avenue. That same year, Yarmouth made it to the Championship Series, but lost to the Cotuit Kettleers, 3 games to 1.
In 1977 the team name was expanded to include the Town of Dennis, which had not had a team since 1961. That same year, the Yarmouth – Dennis Red Sox made their way back to the Championship Series, this time losing to the Cotuit Kettleers, 3 games to 2.
At the beginning of the 1981 season, the home field of the Red Sox was renamed Merrill “Red” Wilson Field in honor of the legendary Yarmouth player, coach and manager.
From 1987 thru 1990, the Red Sox played in the Championship Series three times. In 1987, the team lost to the Harwich Mariners, 2 games to 1. However, with a 1989 Championship Series win over the Hyannis Mets, 2 games to 0, the Yarmouth – Dennis Red Sox captured the area’s first Cape League Championship since their predecessor, the Yarmouth Indians, won in 1960. They would go on to repeat as Champions in 1990, besting the Wareham Gatemen, 2 games to 1.
Scott Pickler and an Era of Dominance
In 1998, the team named Scott Pickler as their new Manager. A second baseman at his alma mater, San Diego State, “Pick” took over a struggling Cypress College baseball program in 1985, quickly turning the Chargers into a respected California powerhouse. A four-time National Coach of the Year for California Junior Colleges and a five-time state champion, Pickler was the right man for the job.
His tenure as Manager ushered in an era of Yarmouth – Dennis Red Sox dominance in the Cape League, securing five division titles, eight trips to the Championship Series and six Cape League Championships from 2004 through 2016. From 2004 thru 2007, the team won three Championships, beating the Falmouth Commodores, 2 games to 0 in 2004, the Wareham Gatemen, 2 games to 1 in 2005 and the Falmouth Commodores again, 2 games to 0 in 2007.
After losing the League Championship Series to the Cotuit Kettleers, 2 games to 1 in 2010, and to the Wareham Gatemen, 2 games to 1 in 2012, Pickler led the Red Sox to a stunning three-peat of Championships during the 2014 thru 2016 seasons, beating the Falmouth Commodores, 2 games to 1 in 2014, the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, 2 games to 1 in 2015, and the Falmouth Commodores, 2 games to 1 in 2016.
In the years since, the Yarmouth – Dennis Red Sox have consistently made the playoffs and are a perennial contender for Division and League Championships.
Scott Pickler was inducted into the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame in 2019.